March 11, 2009
HUMACAO, P.R. - The Notre Dame men's golf team capped off arguably its strongest tournament performance of the 2008-09 season on Wednesday, carding a final-round 293 (+5) and moving up to finish second at the 10-team Palmas del Mar Intercollegiate in Humacao, P.R. The Irish wound up with a three-day score of 12-over par 876 (299-284-293), which ties for their second-lowest 54-hole mark of the season and the 22nd-lowest in school history. Notre Dame ended six shots back of tournament champion Virginia Commonwealth on the Flamboyan Course (par 72/6,931 yards) at the Palmas del Mar Golf Club, posting its highest tournament finish since a similar runner-up showing at last year's Irish Invitational.
Despite a difficult final round, junior Doug Fortner (Tustin, Calif./Foothill) earned his fourth career top-five finish, sharing fourth place with VCU's Rafael Campos at one-under par 215 (71-68-76). It's the third time in six events this year that Fortner has posted team-high scoring honors, and the second time he's placed in the top 10 this season. Fortner finished four strokes behind tournament medalist Will Bowman of UNC Greensboro, who led the entire way.
Sophomore Connor Alan-Lee (Solana Beach, Calif./La Jolla Country Day School) was Notre Dame's big mover on the final day, firing a career-low 68 (-4) to surge all the way up to an 11th-place tie at a career-best four-over par 220 (77-75-68). Alan-Lee's previous career-low round (69) had come in last spring's Irish Invitational, while his previous 54-hole tournament best had been 221 at the Saint Mary's (Calif.) Invitational back on Sept. 29-30. Alan-Lee's 11th-place finish also is the second-best of his career, topped only by a tie for 10th place at the Irish Invitational, when he competed as an individual participant.
Sophomore Jeff Chen (Walnut, Calif./Los Altos) and freshman Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) closed out a solid spring opener with matching scores of 75 (+3) on Wednesday to end up sharing 15th place at six-over par 222. Chen, who battled a 103-degree temperature earlier in the tournament, shot rounds of 75-72-75 on the way to his best finish of the season and third top-15 performance of his young career. Meanwhile, Walker was playing as an individual competitor and turned in his best 54-hole score and finish of the year, exceeding the 229 (+13) score and 47th-place tie he notched as an individual at the John Dallio Memorial on Sept. 21-22.
Freshman Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill./Notre Dame Prep (Ariz.)) also shot a 75 on the final day and finished tied for 22nd place at eight-over par 224 (76-73-75). Scodro now has placed in the top 30 in four of his five college tournaments to date. At the same time, sophomore Dustin Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) held steady on Wednesday, keeping his 26th-place tie at 10-over par 226 (80-71-75).
Notre Dame won't have much time to rest as it embarks on the second half of its spring break trip Friday and Saturday at the Border Olympics in Laredo, Texas. Complete results will be posted on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com) and the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000) at the conclusion of each day's competition.
Palmas del Mar Intercollegiate
FINAL 54-HOLE TEAM RESULTS: 1. VCU 870 (299-280-291); 2. NOTRE DAME 876 (299-284-293); 3. UNC Greensboro 880 (284-297-299); 4. Johnson & Wales (Fla.) 885 (294-294-297); 5. Santa Clara 887 (309-289-289); 6. (tie) St. John's 893 (296-294-303) and Bowling Green 893 (310-296-287); 8. Old Dominion 900 (307-295-298); 9. George Mason 912 (314-296-302); 10. St. Thomas Aquinas (N.Y.) 938 (304-317-317).
TOP 5 INDIVIDUALS PLUS NOTRE DAME GOLFERS (of 54): 1. Will Bowman (UNCG) 211 (67-71-73); 2. Mark Jargren (VCU) 213 (72-69-72); 3. Ryan Heisey (UNCG) 214 (71-73-70); 4. (tie) Doug Fortner (ND) 215 (71-68-76) and Rafael Campos (VCU) 215 (73-69-73); 11. (tie) Connor Alan-Lee (ND) 220 (77-75-68); 15. (tie) Chris Walker (ND)* 222 (73-74-75) and Jeff Chen (ND) 222 (75-72-75); 22. (tie) Max Scodro (ND) 224 (76-73-75); 26. (tie) Dustin Zhang (ND) 226 (80-71-75).